Crane (TV Series 1963–1965) Poster


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Comments regarding the AR-TV series "Crane"
lindac-530 March 2005
"Crane" was the first TV series I recall that was shot on location in Casablanca and the format was unusual, too, with the "goodie" - Crane - who was a smuggler and the "baddie" - Colonel Sharif Mahmoud - who was the Casablanca police chief trying his best to catch Crane at it (smuggling, that is!). My sympathies were always with Mahmoud, played by Gerald Flood. A handsome, elegant actor (a lost art these days), he was very much the hero of the piece, a much more attractive character than the "lantern-jawed" Crane, as played by Patrick Allen. Other series regulars were Sam Kydd as Orlando O'Connor and Layah Raki as the token belly-dancer female, with Leonard Trolley as Mahmoud's long-suffering subordinate, Shaab. I would love to see some of the episodes again, but time has passed and I learn that the show is unavailable. Such a pity, as it was fun, with more than a touch of glamour. I will always fondly remember "Crane".
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Interesting series that never got it's due attention
peter.kirby1 March 2002
This series, although short, captured my imagination, and I loved the interaction between the characters. There were some laughs, but mainly the drama was gripping, but entertaining.

I would recommend that if you did not catch the Crane first time round, you work darn hard to catch the re runs.
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Fun 1960's Light Drama.
screenman24 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was quite surprised to find two other contributors on this site as programs this old are usually forgotten. I have made it a sort of one-man crusade to ensure that they get at least one user comment. Especially if I thought they were good.

Contributor Lindac 5 seems to have an excellent memory of this program; far better than mine at any rate.

It was unusual because Crane was indeed a British criminal expat and yet he was presented as the tacit hero of the program. He wasn't always successful, but at least he never got caught. Presumably, the authorities of the day thought that breaking the smuggling laws in some exotic African state was fun and fair game. Whereas one can't help thinking that a Crane who practiced his art against British Customs and Excise would have been presented in a much less glamorous way. And Neither would he have been seen to get away with his crimes.

Still, it was jolly good fun.

He ran a legitimate cafe/nightclub as a cover for his improprieties, in a way that was probably lifted from those old Humphrey Bogart films like Sirocco and Casabalanca. He had a glamorous young girl who danced and served the bar, and would today be seen to provide other services after the 9 o-clock watershed.

When you stop to consider the limited production budgets, I'm not so sure that the program was actually filmed on location in Morocco. Crane's cafe and environs had a very studio sound and appearance, as did Mahmoud's police station. Most of the nefarious activities took place at night and might as easily have been on Canvay Island. The few long shots of 'Morocco' could likewise have been anywhere in North Africa, and I never saw the actors actually filmed in these locations. I suspect they were just archive out-takes from other programs and newsreels. But what the hell?

One other thing; I thought the program ran for at least two series - early black and white and later colour. The early series had a theme music that was entirely instrumental. It had a swirling, exotic rhythm that immediately conjured-up images of belly-dancing and may well have been authentic - for some odd reason I have it entirely memorised. Later, it was replaced by a theme with slightly more 'westernised' riffs, and a male singer extolling the artfulness of 'Crane, crane, crane' which was chanted as a chorus.

I guess it would seem pretty stagy and tame today.
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Just a few musings about yet another long-gone t.v.-programme
dmjh6417 May 2014
Sad to read that the "Crane" series has been all but wiped out of existence, like the early "Avengers": anything in black-and-white format must have been considered not worth keeping after colour came in."Crane" was panned by the critic of one daily newspaper (probably the "Daily Express") who said they should have 'lowered the boom' on it. Allen always seemed to play the same, two-dimensional,blustering/ bullying,authority-types-trapped by his voice and square-jawed looks-but he filled a niche and stayed around and he's hard to forget.Suave, forgotten, Gerald Flood was a good actor, probably better than Allen, but was not so lucky in having to take the 'ten-a-penny' 'supporting-part" roles that he didn't deserve to be stuck with.Sam Kydd was always Sam Kydd and seemed to be forever in demand for playing those surly/chirpy,below-decks characters: a pity about his early death.
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It was all about Laya
paulquintas17 May 2017
Unlike other 'Crane' reviewers with impressive memories, pretty much all I remember about the series is Laya Raki. She was, to me as a teenager in the early 60s, simply the most beautiful, exotic, sexy female on TV. Appearing in tight, low-cut dresses that seemed to be sprayed-on to her fabulous curves, she was like a creature from another planet. With her strange exotic accent, she played Halima who ran the small bar owned by Mr Crane. Her cleavage was a thing of wonderment, as were her sensual and expressive lips. Her whole persona radiated sex. She said in an interview at the time that Patrick Allen (who played Crane) criticized her for not wearing a bra, but she argued that she didn't need one. Check out the contemporary photos of her in a see-through night dress by Peter Basch and you can see she was absolutely correct. I savored every second she was on screen, and I probably resented all the other characters when the camera turned to them instead. Crane was the highlight of early 60s TV for me, and for one reason only - Laya Raki. A woman who has had the most remarkable life, for example escaping Nazi Germany as a teenager in the 1940s, Laya is (according to Wikipedia) still alive and living in LA. Someone should write a biography.
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The Day Croker Nearly Croaked...
morpheusatloppers19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This studio-bound early Sixties series - obviously inspired by "Casablanca", which was NOT a famous film in those days, being too old to be new and not yet old enough to be a classic (although one wonders how famous Bogart would BE now, had it not been for Woody's "revival" of him in "Play It Again Sam") - was very BIG In It's Day.

The lantern-jawed Patrick Allen had been in several low-budget movies - and after the success of "Crane", became Britain's top ad voice-over artist, before handing the crown to Bill Mitchell. In the Seventies, I briefly (separately) met Patrick Allen AND Bill Mitchell - oh, those VOICES!

But aside from Allen, the vivacious Laya Raki and smooth Gerald Flood, there was then-popular character actor Sam Kydd as "Croker", Crane's sidekick. And "Crane" almost proved to be his undoing...

The scene was one where Croker was bound and gagged, all ready to be rescued by the craggy Crane. He was SUPPOSED to be struggling to free himself, but what nobody realised was that his false teeth had become dislodged, were working their way down his throat and he was actually slowly CHOKING TO DEATH.

Luckily someone noticed that Sam appeared to be acting a little TOO convincingly, and he was brought round just as he was figuring the rushing in his ears was the last thing he'd ever hear...

All of which is why there are now SAFEGUARDS in place so that actors who are SUPPOSED to be in trouble can SIGNAL if they actually ARE!
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Bring back Crane
controllerremote8 May 2008
I think a digital channel should be made available for Nostalgia TV. We could have re-runs of programs like Crane which I remember as a kid and really liked it. the parents thought it complete tripe ,but what the hell.

There is loads of stuff out there in old TV land that would be great fun to see again. Programmes like Adam Adamant, the dreadful Nationwide, really old Corrie, etc etc. I am a member of the original TV generation when there was an innocence about TV and can remember all sorts of rubbish!

I remember Crane (or crumple clock as Pater called him) as a daring rogue battling against swarthy foreign officialdom. Great!

Patrick Allen also did the Voice over for the government nuclear warning film so his voice might have been the last one we ever heard!
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